Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

Review
3 Stars
The Dead Key
The Dead Key - D.M. Pulley

The First Bank of Cleveland in this book is fascinating. Closed from on day to the next, completely locked up, deserted and then forgotten over time. The story has two different lines, 1978 just before this all happened, and 1998 when Iris, a young architect is asked to draw the building for an upcoming project at her firm.

The Dead Key had good and bad things. The best was by far the Bank, it was like it were an time capsule. However, neither of the two stories really got me into the novel. Especially the 1998 one, with Iris making a lot of bad decisions and she also had these strange wandering capacities that are almost as misplaced as would this have been a horror movie. There's a reading of a diary and I never buy it that characters take days or weeks to read it in order to slowly figure out what happened. If they were really as investigating as they show to be (by wandering into every dark, dusty place they discover), they would 'investigate' and finish this diary pronto. This is just a side note of something that annoys me often in novels.

It was not that The Dead Key didn't entertain, I just felt very little connection to any of the characters and it was very easy to put it down and read something else instead.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
Victorian Fairy Tales
Victorian Fairy Tales - Michael Newton

This was one of these books that really just wasn't for me. It features a nice introduction on fairy tales in the Victorian era, which was a good read and although I'm not particularly interested in the subject, I found it entertaining and interesting.

Next is a string of fairy tales and frankly, I enjoyed them very little. It became a burden for me to pick up the book, as I either struggled with the translation of some of the stories, and especially the long stories were plain boring. While I'm sure they are a nice representation of fairy tales in that time, I just found out those really are not for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Trade Deal
Trade Deal - Malka Older

After Kris' trial the dust is setting and this episode is bit slower than the last. While it wraps up several outstanding questions from the last episode, it also broadens and expands into new storylines, now that Kris has made it to be a Warden.There was a bit too much exposition for my liking but it didn't matter much. I really like this serial so far, I'm curious to see where it is going.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Atheist's Mass
The Atheist's Mass (Little Black Classics #41) - Honoré de Balzac

These two short stories serve as my introduction into the literary legacy of Honoré de Balzac, and frankly, it's probably going to stay at that. While both stories were crafted okay, and had a messages of loyalty, I found them rather dull to be honest. It may very well be the translation, I can't be sure, but I was left feeling slightly disappointed.

Little Black Classics #41

Review
3 Stars
Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet - Crystel S Chan, William Shakespeare

I’ve been reading the Manga Classics since the beginning and I really like how they bring classics to life in a new way. Especially some stories have been told so many times in so many different ways that it is difficult to bring something new to the stage (see what I did there?), and now they have branched into a new field: Shakespeare. Shakespeare has been turned into manga before (at least I believe I saw some lying in The Globe shop last year, but I haven’t read those (yet)).

They start with Romeo and Juliet, probably a logical choice but also one of my least favourite Shakespeare plays. All the original text is included, and the drawings help with understanding some of the more difficult metaphors if needed. Manga really lends itself into exaggerating personalities into caricatures (especially with characters like the nurse which already have these tendencies).

Nice artwork make a nice adaptation, but I would be looking forward to other plays which are said to come soon!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Little Moments Of Love
Little Moments of Love - Catana Chetwynd

In the tradition of Sarah’s Scribbles and others I’ve been looking for cutesy little comic books, and Little Moments of Love was one of them. I had seen some of them passing by on facebook but I wasn’t really familiar with her work.

The style is quite nice, and so are the comics, I just thought it was a bit too much of the same after a while. Quite a lot (almost all) of the comics are about how she and her boyfriend love each other, and it gets repetitive after a while.

Still nice, but a bit of variation would have been better!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
The Gauntlet
The Gauntlet - Underwood Michael

The moment is finally there. The fight that will prove whether all that Kris did was in vain or not. Although I never really doubted the outcome of the challenge, I found it an interesting and thrilling episode nonetheless. So far, I really like the intricate world that is being created. I hope we will be getting a bit more of the council soon.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Born to the Blade Season 1 Episode 4.

Review
3 Stars
My Dearest Father
My Dearest Father (Little Black Classics #51) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I was looking for a book with a music theme for a monthly challenge and this was the first that came to mind so I skipped a couple of books ahead in the Little Black Classics series to this entry by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, although I think his father wrote at least half of it.

Some letters are more musical than others, but this aside this edition was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one end there are the quite boring passages where Mozart and his father quarrel over the expenses of a trip, which is nothing more or less than that and which doesn't make the most thrilling of reads. On the other hand I was quite moved, when his mother falls sick when travelling with Mozart to Paris, and he can only communicate with his father and sisters through letters which take more than a week to arrive. It makes you realise just how spoiled we are nowadays to have instant communication to any place on the globe.

Little Black Classic #51

Review
2 Stars
We Can Be Mended
We Can Be Mended - Veronica Roth

I had missed the announcement of this final epilogue to the Divergent series completely, but don't worry, you won't miss a thing.

It's five years since the events in Allegiant (which was a ridiculous book and I'm still being kind), and I didn't have a strong desire to go back, but the completist in me wanted to have read the entire series, so here I was, reading We Can Be Mended.

And they get mended over the course of this 27 page story. I've seen a lot of people hate this story with a passion, but I'm more indifferent. I only got the slightest of information on how the world changed and what is going on now. Instead there's the rather forced coming together of two of the surviving characters from the book.

I would only recommend it for big fans of the series, and even then prepare to dislike it.

Review
3 Stars
The Battersea Barricades
The Battersea Barricades - Jodi Taylor

Having only just finished An Argumentation of Historians (the ninth book in the series), this short story was already published two weeks later. And it was completely not what I expected.

It is different from the rest in A) there is no 'investigating major/minor historical events in contemporary time' and B) the usual main characters almost play no role at all. Sure, Max is there drinking wine but not doing much more.

It was nice to have a background story for the supporting cast of the series, but it was a weird kind of story. As you might recall, Max travelled to a parallel dimension somewhere around book three/four (I honestly don't recall) and has been living since in a world with the Time Police. Some other things are also different, but just how different it was always difficult to tell because Max, and the reader by extension, is very ignorant of her surroundings and little important things like who is king/prime minister or what year it is. Tea, I can tell, is still plentiful, which is the only thing that counts.

So we are thrown into a civil war (simply called THE civil war for confusion) in this timeline, and while I would love to know more about this alternative reality, I would have liked to see some more introduction because sure, they were rebels of some kind. But that was about it. Now I left wondering about the details, and also if we will get more like this in the future.

Review
2 Stars
Painless
Painless - S. A. Harazin

David is 17 (almost 18) and suffers from a condition where he can't feel pain and has troubles regulating his body temperature. Which sounds like it could have been a really nice book, but somewhere it fell short.

David really acted like a child most of the time and the writing didn't help there either. He has a constant assistant, but since he didn't have any mental issues and was perfectly aware (by training) of what he could and couldn't do I didn't really understand why. Surely he was capable himself of checking his temperature (he has a watch) or taking his blood pressure. I also wasn't sure why they would be putting him in an assisted living facility, since he was perfectly fine living on his own.

One other thing that bothered me was that everything happened really fast (like on a couple of pages) and was never mentioned later. One of his friends dies in a car accident, which is never mentioned later at all. They go to the funeral and that's about it.

Not really for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2.5 Stars
Second Activation
Second Activation - Darren Wearmouth, Marcus Wearmouth

First, there was the First Activation, which resulted in a world where everyone had one goal: a murder-suicide. The first part of the novel was survival horror as two brothers who escaped this fate try to stay alive amidst this crazy scenario. I really liked that part. After they stumble on some of the people who are behind it, it turns out to be more of a stop the bad guys kind of books. I was less a fan of that.

Unfortunately, Second activation was more of the latter. In every sense of the world. It was still very fast paced and certainly entertaining, but it also felt a bit repetitive. Also, everyone who was not one of the three main characters were dying like flies even though the main characters themselves obviously never get hurt. They are THAT good. The ending left room for another book, but I'm not sure there is one.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Baby Shower
Baby Shower - Cassandra Khaw

All of the characters in Born of the Blade are struggling with their biggest challenge yet: a baby shower. It seemed a bit like an episode of a sitcom, or else maybe just a middle part of a book but as a separate part of the serial it was a bit strange. Of course, the baby shower itself is filled with much more than baby presents, but still. To me it felt like filler, and this is only the 3rd episode. I’m curious to see where this is going.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Follow The Leader
Follow The Leader (A DS Allie Shenton Novel) - Mel Sherratt

A string of seemingly random murders shocks a little English town. Fridge Letters connect the victims. They also went to the same school, but that was over 25 years ago. Sure, that can not be the solution?

Follow the Leader is the second DS Allie Shenton book, but was my introduction to the series. I felt I could easily join in on this point, and had no problem following the different police officers around. The killer is known from the start but this doesn't mean there is no interesting chase. The pace was rather quick right from the start with a high body count. It was an easy and entertaining read but I missed something that made it stand out among all small-English-town-detectives. I mean, looking at all the books, it is terribly unsafe to go anywhere near small English towns since the murder rates are astonishing.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Wall-E
Wall-E - Shiro Shirai

Wall-E is awesome, there's no denying it.

Like other manga in this series it closely follows the original story so there is not a lot of new things to be discovered. The artwork delivers but is relatively simple. Wall-E is cute. There is a little bit of extra things at the end aimed for children.

Nice for fans, but otherwise I think the movie itself will do.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2.5 Stars
Ocean of Secrets Volume 2
The Ocean of Secrets Volume 2 Manga - Sophie-chan

It had been a while since I read the first volume of Ocean of Secrets but the story came back to me rather quickly once I started the second volume. The art is quite nice, but some of the characters really look alike which makes it difficult to tell them apart.

The story however, goes so fast that many details are lost. Characters don't get the time to develop because they have to jump from event to event. The premise is very interesting, but the story would benefit from slowing down and taking the time to be told. I understand this might be difficult in the scope of a manga volume, but this should be taken in consideration when developing a story.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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